Always Wear Protection Against the Suns Harmful Rays
You may ask, how do I protect myself from eye damage?
That’s easy always wear protective eye wear when you are going to be out in the sun for long periods of time.
Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection are the most recommended way to protect yourself against eye damage. Sunglasses paired with a visor or cap provides the ultimate protection for your eyes. For those of us who do our sun tannings in a salon, always remember to wear your protective goggles. The ultraviolet rays from a tanning booth are just a damaging as the sun if not more.
And don’t forget your little ones; they need just as much protection as you or me.
Ultraviolet (UV) Rays
Many Americans are more aware of the risks of sunburn and skin cancer from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. But did you know UV and other radiation from the sun also can harm your eyes?
Longtime exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis that can cause temporary to permanent vision loss.
When protecting your eyes from the suns radiation your sunglasses should block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Close-fitting wraparound style frames provide the best protection; they limit how much sunlight reaches your eyes from all angles.
Ultraviolet radiation is classified into three categories:
- UVA rays – Although these are closer to visible light rays and have lower energy than UVB and UVC rays they can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. UVA radiation may play a part in why you develop cataracts, or macular degeneration.
- UVB rays – These rays are filtered partially by the ozone layer, but some still reach the earth’s surface. Although UVB radiation creates a suntan it can also cause sunburn, skin discoloration, and wrinkles.UVB rays are the number one cause of skin cancer or Melanoma.
- UVC rays -The highest-energy UV rays. These rays could potentially be the most harmful to your eyes and skin. Luckily, the atmosphere’s ozone layer blocks virtually all UVC rays.
Risks of eye damage from UVA and UVB exposure change from day to day and depend on a number of factors. Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk for eye problems from UV radiation. You would be more at risk for sun damage depending on your Geographic location UV levels are greater in tropical areas near the earth’s equator. UV levels are greater at higher altitudes especially when the sun is high in the sky, typically early morning until mid-day. UV levels are greater in wide open spaces, especially when highly reflective surfaces are present, like snow and sand.
Kids need UV Protection Too
Children generally spend much more time outdoors than adults. In fact, experts say as much as 80 percent of our lifetime exposure to UV rays occurs by age 18.
Therefore, make sure your kids’ eyes are protected from the sun with good quality sunglasses. Also, encourage your child to wear a hat to reduce UV exposure further.
Protect Your Eyes with Sunglasses
The best way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays is to always wear quality sunglasses when you are outdoors. Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. Not all sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays. If you’re unsure if your sunglasses provide the right level of UV protection, take them to your eye doctor or optician for an evaluation.
The amount of UV protection sunglasses provide is unrelated to the color and darkness of the lenses. A light colored lens can provide the same UV protection as a dark lens. Your optician can verify that the lenses you choose provide 100 percent UV protection.
Here at Family Vision Center, our opticians will help you choose the best sunglass lenses for your needs.